Travellogue, Day 10

Anar, Yavar 20, 00916

Nickolai awoke the next morning to find that he and Furry had switched places, and this time he was the one wrapped around her. He found it impossible to not want to touch her, and his free hand roamed delicately over her collarbone, between her breasts and along her belly. The feel of her fine, short fur under his fingers fascinated him, and he closed his eyes, actually concentrating on memorizing every curve and angle of her body by touch. His cock surged to erection as his action and imagination fed each other. He shifted a little; at it’s present angle his erection was pointing downwards at an uncomfortable angle.

“Nickolai?” he heard her murmur softly. He wasn’t as startled as he had been that first night on Parma.

“Hmm?” he asked, smiling. Being “caught” by her was nothing to feel guilty about, not anymore.

“Put it in.”

“Like this?”

“Uh-huh,” she replied. With his free hand he grabbed his cock and guided it, pushing gently against her from behind. “That’s it,” she sighed. “I was having this wonderful dream about making love to you, and when I woke up, here you were.”

He smiled and pushed against her; her dream, he noticed, had made her wet, and he slid into her cunt without a pause. In the close proximity with her and under the sheets, this side-by-side position took a lot of effort to make even a simple thrust, and he found he was supporting himself up on one elbow to make the angle easier. She rolled with the suggestion, until he found himself entirely on top of her. The position was wonderfully different, as were the sensations. Her tail lay to one side, and when he pushed himself up on his arms he had what he thought was an incredibly sexy view of his cock sliding down along the cleft of her furry butt. The sight turned him on, and he thrust into her.

She yowled. “Did I hurt you?”

“No, Kolya, oh no. Fuck me, Kolya, fuck me hard.”

Not one to argue, Nickolai eased himself into a position where he could get more thrust and angle and began stroking himself in and out of her. “Yes!” she breathed. “Oh fa yes,” she whimpered, “That’s so good!” He had no idea what he was doing, but he wasn’t going to stop doing it, slamming into her on every downstroke. His breathing was getting labored, but he wasn’t noticing, instead increasing the force of every stroke. “I’m coming!” she whimpered, clawing at the bedsheets and crying out in one peal. “Don’t stop,” she begged. “Again, please.”

He didn’t stop, his own orgasm rising. She was pushing back against his hips with every thrust, and when they met the clash was so strong it was almost painful. Her tail began whipping back and forth between them, and her cunt gripped him so tightly when she finally came he nearly couldn’t move, but it didn’t matter because he exploded inside her as she cried her pleasure a second time.

They collapsed; he rolled to the side, and she rolled with him, holding his cock within her. “Oh, Kolya,” she sighed. “I don’t believe how good that felt.”

“What did I do?” he asked, still gasping for air.

“I don’t know. And I don’t know what you were hitting, but it felt so good.” She took a deep breath and said, “Remember that you owe me a second one? I want it right now.”

He giggled. “You’ve got to be kidding!”

She reached behind herself and patted him on his hip. “I am, but I want to do that again, as soon as we can.”

“Fine by me.”

After a short recovery, they dressed and headed up to the rooftop and breakfast again. “Well, you two look good this morning,” Shardik observed as they walked up. “Sleep well?”

“Uh-huh,” Furry said with a tone that indicated clearly that sleep wasn’t what had put the smile on her face that morning.

“I see,” Shardik said. “Well, breakfast for me is melon and grapefruit juice. This is something Aaden cooked up,” he announced, slicing open a large, pale orange fruit and putting each half in a bowl. “Tell me what you think. It’s been a family favorite for decades now.”

“What is it?”

“I’ve never really been sure. We just call it ‘Aaden’s Orange’, and leave it at that. I know it’s something they found on a llerkendi colony about a century back, but what it’s really called or how difficult it should be to grow in our atmosphere, I’ve no idea.” He smiled wide. “So tell me, what do you guys plan on doing today?”

“Like yesterday, no plans,” Furry replied.

Nickolai had taken a taste of the fruit, and found it actually much to his liking. He dug into his breakfast enthusiastically. If Furry was going to make demands of him like she had this morning, he was going to need his strength.

“Well,” Shardik said, “you could always trek out to Monastery Island and see what it’s all about.”

“How far is it?” Nickolai asked.

“About three hundred meters, give or take a dozen depending on the tide,” Shardik answered. “Why, were you thinking of swimming there? There is a SDisk, you know.”

“Is there?” Furry asked. “Where?”

“Well, the SDisk from here will take you to the tide level there. So I’d recommend taking your shoes off before you go. And watch out for crabs when you land.” Shardik’s smile was wide and mischievous.

“What do you think?” Nickolai asked.

“I could bring my sketchbook,” Furry replied.

“You can draw?”

“A little. Not people, but if you put a building or something like that in front of me, I can get a really realistic rendition in about an hour.”

“I’d like to see it if you do,” Shardik replied.

Dave interrupted, saying, “Miss Shigokai, I have taken the liberty of having your sketchbook deposited in your bedroom.”

“Thank you, Dave,” Furry said. “Looks like I’m not going to get a choice in the matter.”

“You always have a choice,” Shardik replied. “It’s just that my friend has a habit of making assumptions sometimes.”

“If I have violated protocol, I apologize.”

“Only a little, Dave,” Shardik replied.

Furry and Nickolai thanked Shardik for breakfast and stopped off at the bedroom to recover her sketchbook and pencils before heading for the SDisk. “Ready?” she asked.

“Let me try. Dave, take us to Monastery Island.” There was a momentary blink, and his feet were wet. He looked down, found himself ankle-deep in the surf with a wave oncoming, and headed further up the beach for drier land, Furry right behind him. “Well, here we are.”

“One of the most mysterious places on all of Pendor,” Furry said, looking around. “I wonder why?”

“They say that only Shardiks and their guests ever come here. I think I’m the first Terran to set foot here since Katherine Moran.”

“I don’t think she qualified as a Terran when she was able to visit the island, if she’s ever been here,” Furry pointed out. “Come on, let’s go take a look around.”

The island was essentially a hill sticking out of the ocean, made of a hard rock surface that surged and plunged across the terrain. Evergreen trees dotted the island, much out of keeping with the tropical palms that grew inside the bowl the Castle hovered over. The one landmark on the entire island was the Monastery, a low, circular building made of rough-hewn stone with a low, coppery-green dome on top. There were two doors, one each on opposite sides of the building, and six windows, evenly spaced with the doors. “Do you think it’s locked?” Nickolai asked.

“One way to find out,” Furry said, walking up and tugging one of the door-handles. The heavy, oaken door creaked open, and inside they found a single room, light filtering in from the six windows. There were benches set against the walls, one on each side of the doors, and another pair on the walls away from the doors, for a total of six. To the right of each door, above one set of benches, was a set of hooks, as if to hang coats.

“Weird,” Nickolai said quietly as they walked in. “What do you suppose it’s all for?”

“I don’t know.” She shivered gently. “Maybe it’s for a ritual or something.”

“That’s not funny.” On Terra, rumors about Shardik sometimes became extreme in their detail.

Furry walked to the middle of the room. The floor was of the same rough-hewn stone as the walls, and was set with angular stones in a radiating pattern away from the center, which was laid with a single circular stone. Furry walked further, towards the other door, and opened it. Outside, the day was as bright and sunny as it had been when they’d arrived at the island. She stepped out of the room.

And came running right back in again, soaking wet. “Ack!” she proclaimed loudly.

Nickolai ran over to her. “What happened?”

“I… I stepped through that door, and it was… it is raining out.”

“What are you talking about?” Nickolai asked. He put a hand on her shoulder… she was dripping all over the floor. “It’s bright daylight out there.”

“It’s raining.”

“Not that I see.”

“Wait a second,” Furry said. “Look out that door.” She pointed to the door they had first come through. “What do you see?”

“Sun.”

“Not rain?”

“No.”

“I see pouring rain. And through that door?” She pointed through the door she had just stepped through.

“Sun.”

“I still see rain. And you have to admit, I am soaking wet. Did you hear that?”

“Hear what?”

“Thunder, Nickolai. I hear thunder.”

“Furry, I don’t hear a thing except and the ocean.”

“That’s not what I’m hearing. I’m hearing thunder. Tell you what… you walk through that door.”

“Okay.” Nickolai walked out into what he saw was a sunny day. As he stepped passed the barrier of the doorframe he found himself in a pouring rain. Cursing, he ran back inside. Wiping water from his eyes, he found Furry laughing. “It’s not funny!”

“I think it is,” Furry said. “Gotcha!”

“What do you think is going on here?”

“I think this is a very good VR room.”

“Virtual reality? Why?”

“I think there are two Monasteries. One is on Pendor, and the other is… someplace else. Pandora, I guess. Whoever’s inside a Monastery is inside ‘the’ Monastery. After I walked through that door, but before you did, I was in the Pandora one and you were in the Pendor one. VR made us think we were in the same building. That wasn’t me you were touching, but… how does that phrase go…”

“‘An amazingly life-like simulation!’” Nickolai chimed in, laughing.

“Yeah! That’s it. Fa, can you imagine if we made love before…”

“I don’t want to think about it,” Nickolai grinned. “Okay, so we’re both on the… alternate Monastery. How do we get home?”

“I guess we go through the original door we came in.”

“Let’s try it.” They walked over to the other door, and, taking a pause, stepped into the apparent pouring rain…

To find themselves again in bright sunlight and an upwardly-curving horizon. “Wow, that’s fascinating,” Furry said.

“I’m glad you like it,” Shardik’s voice said. “Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you, but I was curious to see how you were doing.”

“We’re fine,” Nickolai said, waving.

“Did you get any drawing done?”

“Not yet,” Furry admitted.

“Oh, well. Come here,” Shardik said, stepping into the circular building. “I want to show you something.”

They followed him in. “This room is also access for a few other things, and that’s one of the reasons it’s sort of a mystery. I’m telling you all this because I believe in you, Nickolai, and that’s a lot to believe in. Hal, are you listening?”

“I am here, Kennet.”

“Hal, access Alpha, please.” There was a familiar blip and the three of them found themselves in a large, circular room made of cold plastic. A door opened behind Shardik, and he said, “Follow me, please.”

The gravity, Nickolai noted, was a lot less. He had trouble maneuvering for a few moments, and he noticed Furry having a similar problem. Shardik seemed acclimated to the reduced gravity, but was patient and waited for them to catch up. “Here,” he said, “Put these on.”

“Pressure suits?” Nickolai asked.

“Yeah. I want to show you something.” He helped them both into the suits he had held out for them. The suits fit them each perfectly, a fact which no longer surprised Nickolai. After pressurization tests and confirmations from Halloran, he led them into an elevator. “Ready for a hike?”

“Where are we going?”

“I hope you don’t mind, but it’s someplace depressing.”

Nickolai looked at Furry, who merely shook her head in response. The elevator drove horizontally for a distance before rising. There was a stop. “Depressurize, Hal.”

The hiss of depressurization was joined by a stiffness in the joints of the suits. The doors opened. “It’s over here,” Shardik said. “Just behind this hill.”

As they stepped out from behind the hill, Nickolai gasped. Although there were few places like the one he was seeing here left on Earth anymore, he knew what a cemetery looked like. Rigid, upright blocks of stone marked grave after grave in unending precision under the hot light of a sun undimmed by atmosphere. “What… what is this?” Nickolai asked.

“Reality,” Shardik replied. “A testament to failure, Nickolai.” Shardik sat down on a rock and said, “Every time I think about a new species I want the universe to see, I come out here. See those twenty-eight over there? Centaurs, almost perfect but for minimal flaws. See that pack over there? A hundred Felinzi, all wrong. It’s a good thing I caught the error before I started the larger tanks, or all ten thousand would have ended up here. Over there, a few dozen Tindals with dominant non-psi genes. There, an entire species I gave up on as untenable. Ten individual tests. And see that one over there?” He pointed an open grave just to the right of the twenty-eight Centaur stones.

“It’s empty,” Furry said.

“It shouldn’t be. Go read the stone.”

Furry and Nickolai walked over to the open hole. “Carroll Ann Lewis,” Furry read aloud.

“I should never have allowed her to be born. She was almost perfect, and I had suspicions, but no proof then that something was wrong. The genetics weren’t as exacting as they are now. And Paul, Paul was just so perfect that I couldn’t terminate them as a pair. And I had to keep it to pairs. Gods, I was so blind back then!

“Nickolai, when you return to Earth, everybody will be all over you for you to tell what you saw. People will probably invoke the Freedom Of Information Act to get you to talk, but the Personal Privacy Act supersedes it, and I want you to remember that. But I want you to tell people what you saw here.”

“I understand, sir.”

“I know you do, Nickolai,” Shardik sighed. “It’s one of the reasons I treasured you two coming out to the Castle as you did. I hope you don’t object to my abusing you two like this, stuffing you full of information, making you conduits for my propaganda.”

Nickolai shook his head. “I’ll just tell the truth.”

“Good lad!” Shardik said over his radio. “Come on, these suits aren’t great past a couple of hours.” They walked back to the elevator. As the elevator descended, Shardik said, “You know, even with that out there, I don’t feel at all hesitant when I’ve got a good idea, a new species or whatever that I think should work. I think it’s important that, no matter what your working material, be it wood, stone, electrons, or flesh, you should always strive to create the best there is, and accept the failures. It’s hard, sometimes, though… I’m still a product of Terra, sometimes, Nickolai, and sometimes, when I’m lying in P’nyssa’s or Aaden’s arms, I remember that what they’re made of is exactly what I’m made of, and what those failures buried out there are made of. And I have to reconcile my attraction to the flesh I lie with with the idea that that’s the same flesh I work with.” The elevator repressurized and they removed the suits, hanging them on the hooks where they had found them.

“It’s only seven, and I’ve already mananged to depress myself pretty effectively.” Shardik sighed as he led them back to the SDisk, and Monastery Island.

“I don’t think so,” Nickolai said as they wandered out into the sunlight.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, before the genetic tests of the twenty-first century were implemented, how many damaged or deformed children were born on Earth? Aren’t those really examples of evolution’s failed experiments?”

“I guess,” Shardik smiled. “But sometimes I feel like this plain, old Terran isn’t really prepared to be evolution’s agent. But I volunteered for the job, and I apparently am pretty good at it.”

“I think so,” Furry said.

“I think so, too,” Nickolai said, wrapping an arm around her.

“Me too,” Shardik said. “Some people think I’m a god. Well, if that’s the case then it’s worth my while to go out to Mare Silencum and look at my mistakes, and resolve to never make them again. Even if it takes me forever to realize that the flesh, and the heart, are not the same.” He took a deep breath and said, “Would you like to stay and draw for a while?”

“I think I will,” Furry replied.

“I’ll stay with her,” Nickolai replied.

“I expected that,” Shardik said. He took a few steps down the side of the hill, then turned around and said, “Look, if… if what I just showed you disturbed you at all, I’m sorry. But I felt it important to actually show it to someone, someone who could go home and tell people about it.”

Nickolai smiled and said, “It was a scary thing to see. But I think I understand why you showed it to us. Thank you, sir.”

“Thank you, Nickolai.” He walked down the hill and out of sight.

“Wow,” Nickolai said when he felt Shardik was out of earshot.

“Wow is right,” Furry said, propping her book up on her knees and pulling a pencil out of her pocket. “Every day I’ve been here, something new has come up.”

“It is a little scary.”

“A little?” she asked, surprised. Nickolai watched with amazement as the building she was staring at took shape on the paper with an ease he found frustrating. “More than a little. I mean, all of this… It means something, Nickolai, but I don’t know what. One second he’s the most normal person I’ve ever met, the next second he’s showing us his graveyard.” She shuddered gently. “Somewhere in there were Markals, too, that didn’t make it.” She switched pencils. “The texture of this stones is heavier than it looked at first.”

“I bet there were a few humans in there, too.”

“I bet there were,” she replied. “After all, even his early humans were radically different from Sap Terra. Like himself, for instance.”

Nickolai nodded. “I’m going to wander.”

“Okay,” she said, trying to be cheerful. “I’ll be done in about half an hour.”

“‘Kay,” he said. He spent the half hour lost in thought, wandering down to the beach and circumnavigating the island at least once before walking back towards the building. “Whaddya think?” Furry asked as he came up the path.

“That’s really good,” he said. “If you can draw that, why can’t you draw people?”

“I don’t know. I can’t even draw animals… I tried to draw cats for a while, but they always came out funny.” She flipped the sketchbook closed and inserted the pencil back into the pocket over the thighs of her pants. She hugged him close and said, “I don’t care what the rest of this is for. All I know is that I love you.”

“God, I love you too,” he replied, returning the hug. There was something about her that grounded him, that made every tension and discomfort in him seem to flow away; he almost wanted to collapse against her, the confusion of Shardik’s visit vanishing in her reassurance.

“C’mon,” he said gently, “Let’s head back.”

She looked around. “It’s so pretty out here. Come on, walk with me once more around the island?”

“Okay,” he said, smiling. They walked in silence, with nothing but the gentle surf of the ocean to disturb them. They took the SDisk back to Shardik Castle without a word between them.


“Welcome back,” Shardik said quietly, looking up from the book he was reading. Nickolai’s command had been “Take us to Shardik Castle,” and he had momentarily forgotten that there were several SDisks in the complex. This one had deposited them on the sands surrounding the lagoon. Shardik was lying on a beach towel directly adjacent to it. “You two seem happy.”

“Very,” Furry said.

“Good. Just a second.” He raised his voice and shouted “Skii! Where are you?”

“Up here!” a voice came from the roof of the Castle. Nickolai looked up and wondered how the sound had traveled that far, then realized that when Dave was a major member of the family, trivial details like space and time didn’t matter very much.

“Well, come down here. I have something for you to do.”

The Felinzi shrugged and leapt over the railing. That was another thing Pendorians didn’t seem to have much concern for… gravity. Nickolai suddenly realized he’d been labeling acceleration with the word “gravity,” when of course it wasn’t gravity at all, but incidental centripetal acceleration, that kept his feet planted firmly on the ground.

“What’s up?” Skii asked, dusting sand from the tip of his tail. He hadn’t landed very gracefully.

“You have an errand to run.”

“I do?”

“Yes. As I recall, you left three of the family Jialani’s out at Carraraug. I expect them back in the vehicle bay by one tomorrow.”

“You mean, I have to go get them?”

“Well, you can enlist help, if you like. These two look like safe, trustworthy-” he put particular emphasis on that word- “Jialani riders.”

“Well,” Skii said, seeming pleased if a little unbalanced by the offer, “We did leave ‘em there. Want to go and recover them?”

“Sure,” Nickolai said, smiling. “I don’t see why not.”

“Let’s get going.”

“Aren’t you all going to change first? I did say ‘by one,’ and none of you look prepared for anything other than a trip to the beach.”

“Oh,” Furry said, smiling. “Yeah, I think we should get dressed. What about you two?”

“Sounds like a good idea to me,” Skii replied, smiling. Nickolai, at first a little confused, quickly understood and joined the other in diving into the water of the lagoon, appearing inside the residential hall as dry as he had been before diving in.

“See you two back here in, ten minutes?”

“Make it twenty?” Furry asked.

“You want a whole half hour?” Skii asked. “Sure, why not.”

“See you in a half hour.”

“Go,” Skii said, racing down the hallway. Nickolai laughed and said, “He is enthusiastic.”

“So are you,” she chided him gently.

“Yeah,” he said, stroking her head and down the back of her neck. She shivered gently and said, “I love when you touch me like that.”

“Come on, we did agree to be back soon. Dave, are you keeping track of the time for us?”

“I am. Thank you, Nickolai.”

Nickolai looked around and said, “For what?”

“That’s the first time you’ve addressed me and used me in the capacity for which I am intended.”

Nickolai blushed. “As a clock?”

“As a housemate, a utility and a friend you can always depend on.”

As they walked back to their room, Nickolai said “There must be more to life than that.”

“As Sean pointed out, AIs are a unique form of life; what I choose to be is my affair, without hindrance from hormones or unwanted memories.”

Nickolai felt a little uncomfortable with the knowledge that Dave was aware of his conversation with Sean; what was it about him that gained the attention and conversation of the Pendor AInet? Other than the fact that he was guest at Shardik Castle.

“Kolya?” he heard from the bedroom. Shaking his head, he dove down the hole and joined Furry.

“Do you need me?”

“Always,” she smiled. “But I want you to do me a favor.” She held out a brush and said, “Brush my fur.”

He took the offered implement and started at the small of her back, working his way down her body under her directions. The pleasure of being allowed to touch her, to run the brush over ever inch of her precious fur, gave him a raging erection, and as he turned around she reached out and stroked it gently through the cloth of his kilt, smiling. As he slowly stroked along her belly and then down her thighs, she chuckled. “You get excited easily,” she said.

“Not really,” he said. “It’s just you.”

“Get my ears?” she asked sweetly. He accepted the task eagerly, slowly running the denser side of the brush over her ears and then down the back of her head. “Perfect,” she said, turning around again to face him and standing up on her toes to kiss him. “Thank you.”

“Thank you,” he replied, smiling. “Come on, get dressed and ready to go.” She smiled and pulled on the clothes she had laid out for the evening, a black over-the-shoulder dress with cross-straps across the back, showing a lot of skin… fur, Nickolai corrected himself. By her left shoulder she placed a pair of roses made of worked silver, and on head a flat, gray hat with a wide brim.

“What do you think?” she asked.

“Not bad. I like it.”

“Even the hat?”

Nickolai thought for a second. At first he had thought the hat would be pretty silly, but now that she was wearing it he thought it looked pretty neat. “Even the hat.”

“You look pretty hot yourself,” she said, glancing him over. The tight-fitting one-piece with accompanying dinner jacket had seemed a trifle uncomfortable at first, but now that he had it on and all the buckles and snaps in place (he hoped), it practically melded itself to his body and felt pretty comfortable.

“Thanks,” he blushed.

“Two minutes,” Dave warned.

“Let’s get going,” Furry suggested. Nickolai nodded and the two of them headed up and out.

Skii was waiting for them. “Waow,” he admitted upon seeing them. “You two look good enough to eat.”

“Thanks,” Nickolai said. “Let’s hope I don’t get stabbed this time.”

“Fah I hope not,” Skii replied.

Furry smiled and said, “Actually, I was hoping to go early, so we could go to… what was the name of that place?”

“What place?” Nickolai asked.

“The one with the great dinner Ken recommended.”

“That would be the Lundenumen Inn at Tuilpalya,” Dave answered.

“That place?” Skii asked. “Yeah, I even know where it is. I can show you if you’d like… it’s less than twenty minutes from Rocchodain by Jialani, and you can’t get there by SDisk. Want me to?”

“If you don’t mind?”

“Nah,” Skii replied, smiling. “You guys got me a reprieve on driving, I guess I can do this for ya.”

“Then let’s go.” The SDisk took them to the Carraraug hotel, where they dove into the chaos of the noisy nightclub. This time Nickolai took the time to watch Furry, lusting after her with every step. He had to admit it, maybe his heart was lost to her forever, but so were his balls, and that was fair. And despite her original insistence that she hated to dance and was no good at it, he really enjoyed watching her move.

Two hours later, they were both stepping off the floor in exhaustion. “Hey, guys,” Skii said, coming up behind them as they found seats for themselves.

“Hi, Skii.”

“Furry, Kolya, this is Fadi, from Karkrov, in the Ukraine. Did I get that right?”

“You did,” the handsome young melHuman to his right said, if a little nervously. Nickolai debated whether to smile at Fadi’s discomfort or at his own ease; a week ago, he had felt the same way, and for almost the same reasons.

“Have you eaten yet, Fadi?” Skii asked.

“Why, no,” Fadi replied.

“Well, I promised these two I’d show them where a small restaurant is about a half hour from here, and there’s an inn there we can stay at if you’d like.” The lechery in Skii’s feline smile was unmistakable.

“Is that… is that all right?”

“As long as I get you back here by one, everything will be fine,” Skii said.

“I… uh, I suppose. Yes.”

“Come on, guys, let’s go.” Nickolai and Furry followed them out. Outside, the three Jialani’s sat patiently. “How am I supposed to travel with you?” Fadi asked.

“Like this,” Skii said, opening the hatch of his Jialani with his palmprint and sliding it all the way to the back. “There. Now just get behind me and hold on.”

Fadi looked at him dubiously, then sat down behind Skii, carefully wrapping his arms around Felinzi. “That’s it,” Skii said. “Hold on. You guys ready?”

Nickolai and Furry had already started their bikes, and signaled that they were. Skii nodded and started out, surprisingly slowly considering how he had torn away from them the last two times he had gone driving with them. He keyed his intercom to one channel with Furry only and said, “Must not want to scare his ‘guest.’“

Furry chuckled and said, “Well, would you? Consider how he would feel if he knew Skii’s real last name.”

“Yeah,” Nickolai said, smiling. They reached Rocchodain and eased through it slowly, Skii taking care not to drive over any pedestrians. Once past Rocchodain Skii accelerated back up to nearly a hundred kph and took off down the road. A few minutes later the town of Tuilpalya came into view. It was a small town, as Shardik had implied, not as “trad” as Rocchodain; the lights were clearly electrical, but it still had a sense of age to it that Nickolai was finding more and more comforting. Skii stopped in front of a small, three-floor building with an angular, wooden roof, and said “This is the place Ken mentioned.”

“Ken?” Fadi asked with a tone of concern. “As in Shardik?”

“Yeah,” Skii said. “He’s a friend of ours.”

“You know Shardik?” he asked.

“Well, yeah,” Skii replied. “It’s not a big deal. C’mon. Let’s go in and see what ol’ Gordro has for a special.” He opened the door to the Inn and was immediately assaulted by a voice that was barely a meter off the floor. “Skii!”

“Hiya, E’Lyn,” Skii said with an air of obvious embarrassment, looking down at a Mustel with red fur, big ears, and a furry tail that was almost as long as she was. Her most distinguishing feature was a brilliant splash of white fur that descended in an uneven triangle from under her chin.

“Hiya, kiddo. How’s it going? Who’re these people?”

“E’Lyn, meet Jofuran Shigokai, Nicholai Dittrich, and Fadi Seirt.”

“Please to meetcha. What do you need?”

“I need,” Skii paused for a second. “I need a large booth for four, parking for three Jialanis, two rooms with double beds, and a fourteen thirty-five wake-up call.”

E’Lyn hopped over to a small desk, examined a document that lay there and said, “Can do.”

Skii walked over to her and whispered something in her ear. “I can do that to,” she replied after another moment’s reflection. “Okay, folks, come this way. I’m going to be your waitress, you’re the only four here. Gordro’s got spitted lamb tonight.”

She led them to a large, circular booth that easily allowed Nickolai and Furry to sit on one side, Skii and Fadi on the other. Fadi was a dark-skinned human with light-brown hair and brown eyes. He looked very athletic, which apparently was Skii’s reason for choosing him.

“So what do you do?” Furry asked Fadi.

“Me? I’m an agrochemist.”

“This your first trip to Pendor?”

“Uhm… Yes,” Fadi said, giving Skii a sideways glance. Nickolai was impressed with the skill with which Skii manipulated Fadi; every time the young man looked about ready to panic and bolt (and where would he go? Nickolai wondered) Skii’s paws were under the table or his lips on Fadi’s ears, reassuring him of a long and tireless night of… whatever it was Skii had to offer.

“And what do you do?” Fadi asked Nickolai.

“I’m a student,” Nickolai answered perfunctorly.

“Really? Where do you study?”

“At the moment, at the Gerhardt School in Redbridge, England.”

Fadi looked stunned for a moment. “You’re a Terran?” Nickolai nodded. “I’m sorry, I thought you were, well, a Pendorian. You seem so comfortable with these two.”

“I’ve been here for more than a week,” Nickolai said. He felt a touch of arrogance, a sense that he controlled his half of the conversation. He was also reassured to note that the presence of another Terran in the room seemed to calm Fadi considerably.

“What about your tour?”

“I… sort of got hijacked,” Nickolai replied, smiling at Furry, who leaned up to kiss him. “When my tour’s ready to leave, I’ll take a SDisk to Parma.”

“I thought… Terrans couldn’t use SDisks.”

“You’ve used them on your tour, haven’t you?”

“Well, yes… but always with a Pendorian guide.”

“Do you know why you can’t use a SDisk?” Furry asked.

“No… I was just told that tourists generally can’t use SDisks.”

“There’s no rule saying ‘you may not use a SDisk.’ You just can’t use one because nobody’s taught you how. If you learned, you could use one easily.”

“Really?” Fadi asked, surprised. “I could never do that. Where would I go? I should really stick with my tour group. In fact, I really should have stuck with them.”

“Nonsense,” Skii purred with a voice so feline and sensual that even Nickolai had to admit to himself that he found it seductive. Fadi’s body seemed to go rigid for a moment, then relaxed back into the cushioned bench. “You’ll have a great time, and I’ll get you back to your tour before breakfast.”

“It’s an offer I can’t refuse,” Fadi gulped, the motion of his arm indicating clearly to Nickolai that he was returning the favorable fondling under the table.

After dinner, E’Lyn led the four of them upstairs, indicating two doorways on the right side of the hallway. “They’re both ready. Take one. G’night!” She bounded down the stairs in a rapid, hopping gait. Nickolai and Furry took the one that was further down from the stairwell, while Skii and Fadi disappeared into the other.

Nickolai was still lost in thought as the door closed behind him. “What are you thinking about?” Furry asked as she looked around. Nickolai glanced up to take in the surrounding as well; Four-poster bed with real netting, which was good because the window apparently had no glass or netting of it’s own. Wood furniture all around, and the only light was a single candle with a brass reflective hood by the bedstand.

“Huh?” he replied finally, having forgotten the question.

“I said, what are you thinking about?”

“Oh, I just… you know, Skii can be damned seductive. I still can’t believe how much command he had over that guy.”

“Well, for someone who enjoys one nighters, he’s good at getting them into bed with him.” Her comment was emphasized by a loud thump against the wall, followed by a very human giggle and an equally feline moan of pleasure.

Nickolai sighed. “Are we going to be hearing that all night?”

“Probably,” Furry said, walking up to him and putting her arms around his waist. “Or we could fight back,” she said seductively.

“How so?” Nickolai replied, smiling.

“We could fight fire with fire. Y’know, make a little noise of our own.”

“What did you have in mind?” he asked, knowing the answer already.

“Oh, I don’t know,” she replied as her paws reached inside his tailed dinner jacket and slid down the length of his body. “I’m sure we could think of something.” He could feel her paws touching the insides of his thighs as her paws rose and roamed over his cock, which was already straining the tight material of his suit.

He picked her hat off of her head and threw it aside. With a growing awareness of discomfort at his own clothing’s tight fit, he reached down and tugged gently on the straps at her shoulders. She smiled and raised her arms above her head, allowing him to pull her dress off with one easy tug. Naked now, she reached up and began progressively opening each clasp as she worked her way down. She stopped at the clasp above his groin and reached in, her paws sliding gently over his chest, touching his nipples and scratching his skin. He closed his eyes and placed his hands back on her shoulders for support; he wanted to concentrate on her touch, and that seemed to contradict his sense of balance.

She laughed softly and leaned in to kiss his chest, parting the jumpsuit with one paw, the other reaching down to open the clasps over his crotch. Once free, she pushed both paws over his shoulders, pushing his jacket off, then back across and down his arms, pulling the one- piece down his arms and off his waist. She smiled and pulled the suit all the way down, coming to a full kneel at his feet, unbuckling the clasps on his shoes and helping them off as he stepped out of them.

She stood, looking him over as he stood there, naked. With a mischievous grin, she placed both hands on his hips and with a sudden shove he found himself thrown onto the bed.

“Wow,” he said.

She smiled and jumped on the bed, straddling his body. “Lie down,” she instructed in a voice that would brook no argument. He watched as she reached up and undid the ties holding up the netting; it fell down around them, and Nickolai found the effect fascinating. It was as if the outside world became indistinct and hazy, the only light coming from a single bright, yellow spot to his right, and the only real, solid thing he could see was Jofuran.

She smiled and said, “Lie still,” sliding down between his open legs. Still grinning, she leaned over and took the toes of his foot into her mouth. He could feel her teeth sliding over his toes, and despite his claims to be unticklish, he felt wonderful under her talented tongue. She gently bit his ankle then moved up to nibble on his calf. The sensations of her whiskers and fur against his legs belied his claim, and he squirmed slightly as she worked her way up to his thigh. She was bending over, her butt clearly in the air behind her, and he reached up with the foot she had been licking to slide it along her thigh. She looked up into his eyes momentarily, then leaned over to kiss the tops of his thighs, ignoring his groin and proceeding on to his belly, then further up to his nipples. As she slid, the most erotic sensation he was of her nipples trailing along his thighs and up the sides of his stomach. She reached his lips and they kissed, once, lightly- then he threw his arms around her and kissed her hard.

“I love you,” he sighed.

“I love you too,” she said. She stepped over his thighs, so that rather than sitting between his legs she was straddling his torso. She crawled up until her cunny was centimeters from his face. “Lick me,” she said, “please?”

He eased his arms under her and spread the lips of her cunny with his fingers, looking at it. Staring at every soft detail, he tried to memorize every nook and fold with his eyes. He raised his head slightly and pressed his tongue to her, licking the warm flesh. She lowered herself slightly, so he could rest his head against the pillow. He made love to her cunt with his tongue, parting it open with his lips and diving deep between the folds of her labia, drinking what lay there. She leaned over and grabbed the headboard. “My clit, lick me there.”

Nickolai smiled and bent his neck back, reaching the little white nubbin she had begged him to pay attention to, and with careful licks explored the tiny hood she had, slowly encouraging her clitoris out further, running his tongue around it before concentrating directly on it. She shuddered gently. “Oh, Nickolai…”

He licked her a little harder, spurred on her soft sigh and her body’s equally soft trembles. His arms lay under her legs and he placed his hands on her furry buttocks, gently caressing them as he licked her cunny. He could feel the muscles in them tensing as she prepared for release, and he could feel the fur running between his fingers as he caressed her. He concentrated directly on her spot, licking up and down with force. She sighed his name once more, “Nickolai,” and then her whole body seemed to shatter in orgasmic release; the headboard creaked as she held on, moaning in one, long song.

“Oh, Nickolai,” she sighed. “That was… that was so good.”

“Thank you,” he smiled up at her. “It’s great watching you climax.”

“Really?” she asked. “I feel the same way… it’s great watching you.”

Nickolai’s thoughts for a reply were interrupted by a regular, rhythmic banging sound from the next room, high up near the ceiling. He looked at Furry, who smiled. “The bedposts.”

“Uh-huh,” she said, trying to control a laugh. “They’re being pretty… vigorous.”

“Would you like to be vigorous back?” he suggested.

“No,” she said, “I have a better idea.” She crawled back down his body, until she was kneeling directly above his crotch. “I like this position,” she smiled, reaching down to stroke his soft penis. Under her influence, it didn’t stay that way for long, and in moments he had as intense an erection as he felt he’d attained in his entire life. She held it in her left hand, holding it up and aiming it towards her cunt. “You want me to put it in?” she smiled, rubbing the head against her lips.

“I do,” he replied, smiling.

“So do I,” she said, easing down onto. Nickolai could feel every millimeter of motion, as her cunny parted open for him and his head made its way into her body. He could feel the soft walls of her cunt surround him, hold him, grip him, and when she came all the way down and pressed down, further, he could feel his cock nestling up against her cervix. She smiled down at him through half-closed eyes, then began sliding up and down in an agonizingly slow motion. “Oh, Kolya,” she sighed. “I love you.”

He reached up and touched her soft stomach, feeling her fur, feeling each individual hair slide under his palms as they made love together. “I love you too, Jofuran,” he sighed. He looked down to watch his shaft disappear between the full lips of her sex, and then reappear. The sensation of her tight cunny sliding along the length, especially when she neared the top and just the head of his cock was held by the ring of her opening, drove him closer to orgasm.

She smiled and rode him, leaning back slightly. “Hold my paws,” she said. Curious, he did as she asked, grabbing hold of her paws. She leaned back further, using his grip to keep herself from falling all the way over. “Like this, it feels so neat,” she sighed, applying all her energy with her legs to their lovemaking. The view Nickolai had was more wonderfully explicit than any video or biocybe– he was so aware that she was here, and she was his, and watching his cock bend and slide into her cunt like that was mindboggling. But to see it he was holding his head up, and eventually his neck tired and his head dropped back to the pillow.

Furry pulled on his arms, hauling herself back into a sitting position and his range of view. “Ready?” she asked.

“For what?” he asked.

She smiled and leaned over, placing her hands on his chest. She began to stroke him faster, her legs working hard. “Thrust back,” she whispered.

He smiled, taking the suggestion and pushing upwards as she came down for each stroke. Their hips met in the air, striking with sound. The bed began to creak under them as they pushed onwards. “That’s it, Nickolai,” she sighed. “That’s it. I’m going to come if you do that.”

“Really?”

“Uh-huh,” she gasped, her nose wrinkled into an aggressive snarl as she pushed downwards yet again. “Fah, that’s so good.” Nickolai could feel his orgasm calling, that painful tightness in the head of his cock that told him that, this time, his orgasm was really on its way. He smiled and began pushing up harder, their rhythm breaking for a second before synching up again. He laughed, and she smiled wide in return. “Yes, Nickolai,” she moaned. “Yes… Yes!” Her body shuddered; she seemed about to fall on him, but instead she dropped her head in supplication to her climax, breathing hard. When she looked up, the look on her face was unmistakable determination. She resumed her stroking, and the sensations in his groin were growing, growing.

“Furry,” he gasped. “Slow down, I’m right there.”

“Good!”

“No, I want… I want the final moments to last,” he begged her.

She stopped, and slowly lowered herself completely, burying his cock inside her. Then, with almost painful slowness she pulled off of him, then back down. The pleasure, the pressure, grew, but slowly, as he had asked. “Furr…ah!” he gasped as he thrust up into her, hard, feeling his cock pulse as he came, shooting into her.

“How was that?” she asked.

His brain dizzied by the force of his orgasm, he couldn’t answer her for a second. When he finally found his voice, he said, “What do you think?”

She leaned over and kissed his forehead. “I think, my love, that’s it time to go to sleep.”

“I think so, too.”

“Cuddle?” she asked, pulling the covers aside and getting under the bedsheet. The night was warm and the blankets weren’t necessary. And from the sounds outside, the netting was. Furry poked her head out of the folds by her corner and blew out the candle.

Nickolai eased himself under the sheet and joined her, cuddling close as she’d asked. Although he was tired, their proximity and body heat kept him awake, and after a few minutes he pulled away from her, lying down on his back, thinking about how wonderful she was, about how wonderful they whole trip had really been. Even getting stabbed hadn’t been that bad… he’d been unconscious for most of it, and it had reconciled Furry and his mother. He fell asleep with these thoughts.